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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-2-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 2, 1915:

Persistent rumors to the effect that Connie Mack’s holdings in the Athletics were for sale and that he had named his price to a syndicate which has the approval of Ban Johnson, president of the American league, were emphatically denied by the manager of the Mackmen.
...
[Mack:] “My interest in the Athletics is not for sale at any price, but any time my partners are dissatisfied with the way I’m running my ball club, or the American league does not like what I’m doing and want to drive me out of the city, they can do it easy enough. But it will be a care of driving me out, for I don’t intend to quit. I’m here to stay, and I’ll win just as sure as I’ve won before.

Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what happened. Mack won back-to-back world championships in 1929 and 1930 and only sold the team because he didn’t have enough money to make it through the 1955 season.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 02, 2015 at 09:47 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, history

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-1-2015

Dakota County [Nebraska] Herald, July 1, 1915:

Marty McHale has invented a new wrinkle in delivery. He pours a cupful of water on his right knee just before he starts for the rubber, and when he wants to pitch he rubs the ball on the wet spot and gets it good and smooth so that his grip is better. The other teams have protested against the trick, but the umpires see no other way to stop it.

Seems like the exact opposite of what you’d want to do in order to get a good grip, but he was a big league pitcher and I’m a doofus with a computer. If making the ball smooth worked, you can’t really tell from McHale’s big league stats. He went 11-30 with an ERA+ of 80 and 0.4 career WAR in six seasons.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 01, 2015 at 08:40 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, marty mchale

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Glimpse of Moonlight | Baseball Hall of Fame

A nice anecdote about Moonlight Graham.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 08:08 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: history, moonlight graham

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-30-2015

Milwaukee Journal, June 30, 1915:

Elmer Leifer, a left-handed pitcher for Ewan, Wash., struck out thirty-two batsmen in a nineteen-inning game with the Malden, Wash., team.

...and then his arm fell off. Okay, not really, but Leifer had an interesting career.

He signed to play in the Northwestern League and was eventually converted to the outfield. Elmer hit .352 for Butte in 1917, .326 in 1920 as Moose Jaw’s everyday third baseman, and made it all the way to the big leagues for a cup of coffee in September 1921. Leifer went 3-for-10 for the ‘21 White Sox, then opened the 1922 season with Little Rock in the Southern Association. In May 1922, he collided with teammate Travis Jackson in pursuit of a popup, suffering a fractured skull and a severed optic nerve. Believe it or not, Leifer was healthy enough to be the Opening Day starting pitcher for Minot in 1923. He played ball through 1926, then headed back home to retire in Washington state.

(Hat tip to the excellent SABR bio of Leifer, written by Terry Bohn.)

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 30, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, elmer leifer, history

Eugene Emralds’ Historic Stadium Burns Down

A spectacular, two-alarm fire gutted Eugene’s beloved Civic Stadium — and the dreams that went with it — today.

Nearly 40 emergency personnel responded to the blaze, which was called in at 5:26 p.m. Upon arrival, firefighters found flames that were twice the height of the stadium. A huge plume of black smoke could be seen from across much of the city.

This is a huge bummer. The stadium was almost 80 years old and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Though the Emeralds don’t play there anymore, it had been bought as was going to be preserved for soccer and other sports.

My dad told me of watching a young buck roving the ground around 2B and hitting light-tower homers out of Civic Stadium back in the early 70s. You could tell he was going to be a star even then. His name was Mike Schmidt.

Cloude Atlas (Voxter) Posted: June 30, 2015 at 01:01 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: history, huge bummers

Monday, June 29, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-29-2015

Toledo News-Bee, June 29, 1915:

One of the prettiest bits of generalship of the baseball season resulted in a victory for the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cards [on June 24].
...
[Heinie Zimmerman] had been spiked badly and had been out of the game for days. He drove a ball far to center and limped to second, then hobbled to third [on a ground out]. There were two out and two strikes on the batter. Manager Bresnahan delayed the game. He rushed to third base and ordered Zimmerman to get out and let him run.

He asked Manager Huggins’ consent to let him run and still keep Zimmerman in the game…Then he whispered to Zimmerman to steal home on the next pitched ball.

Thrown off guard the Cardinals paid no attention to the cripple and Zimmerman stole home and won the game.

Another one for the “Man, I wish we had video of that” pile. We’d still be watching that highlight, if not the entire game. The Cubs won the game 14-13 with four runs in the ninth. Here’s the box score.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-26-2015

New York Sun, June 26, 1915:

Babe Ruth and Slim Caldwell, generally known to the baseball fans as the greatest of home run [hitting] pitchers, were responsible for the easy victory chalked up by the Red Sox against the Yankees [in New York yesterday]. The Boston pitcher contributed to the home team’s triumph by hard hitting and fair pitching, while Caldwell’s portion was poor pitching.
...
In each of the series played by the Red Sox at the Polo Grounds this year Ruth has blown himself to a home run in the right field stands, the first coming on May 6 and the second on June 2…In the second inning, with one Boston Run in the book and two red hosed runners on the paths, Ruth hit one all the way over the fence near the right field bleachers. The drive goes on record as one of the longest ever made at Fenway Park. In the sixth inning Ruth almost got another circuit clout, but Cree had been waiting for this one and he caught it after backing to the fence.

Say, this Ruth guy is pretty good. Is it rash of me to suggest he might break Roger Connor’s career home run record some day?

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 26, 2015 at 10:21 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-25-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 25, 1915:

WHY NOT STEAL FIRST BASE?

“If the strategic move will benefit his team, and the manager is willing to take the risk, why shouldn’t a player be allowed to steal first base when he so desires?” asks Bill Phelon, in the Cincinnati Times-Star. “Why can’t a man who has already reached second go back to first, if his presence on first is of more value than on second? [If a team has men on second and third with two out and a weak hitter at the plate] the club would really be much better off with its men on third and first, and a chance to at least attempt the double steal. Then why shouldn’t the man on second, if he thinks he can get by with it, plunge back to first, and, incidentally, give the man on third his chance to make a break for home?

That may be the single worst baseball-related idea I’ve ever heard. You want a baserunner to run from second to first in order to give him a chance to run to second? That’s…it’s just…I mean…wow.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-24-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 24, 1915:

Ban Johnson, in an interview in New York, admits he has done everything in his power to strengthen the Yankees, but that there is no improvement of Donovan’s team in sight at present. He realizes that with so much interest in the Yankees, the team should be made as strong as possible, but he adds that the club owners who have star players are unwilling to sell or give them up.

YR to decry baseball welfare in 3…2…1…

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 24, 2015 at 10:50 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 23, 1915:

Ban Johnson has wired George Sisler, Michigan’s star pitcher, who wants to play for his former college coach, Branch Rickey, that he cannot play with the St. Louis Browns. The Pittsburg Pirates have put in a strong claim for the local pitching sensation, and [Pirates owner] Barney Dreyfuss will fight for Sisler before the commission.
...
[Sisler] declared that rather than play with Pittsburg he will not enter professional ball. He wants to play with his former coach, Branch Rickey.

Pittsburgh’s alleged “strong claim” was based on a contract Sisler signed while he was underage, and was rebuffed pretty quickly. Sisler made his MLB debut on June 28, 1915, and had a pretty okay not not stellar career as a pitcher, so I’m not sure what all the fuss was about.

Wait, what? Sisler hit .400 twice in three years? He was a career .340 hitter? He led the league in stolen bases four times? Okay, maybe he was worth the hassle. By the way, before suffering the severe sinus infection that permanently altered his vision and caused him to miss the entire 1923 season, Sisler was a career .361 hitter.

.361!

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 23, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, george sisler, history

Monday, June 22, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-22-2015

Milwaukee Journal, June 22, 1915:

Jack Holland, owner of the St. Joseph baseball club, and Second Baseman Page of the same club were rushed by a mob of 300 fans yesterday after Page assaulted Umpire Vansickle, striking him behind the ear and felling him against a turnstile. A squad of police rescued Holland and Page, taking them to the police station for safety. The trouble started when Page was ordered out of the game for disputing a decision. Holland objected to the ruling and he also was ordered out. Before leaving Holland attempted to strike Vansickle with a bat.

Holland was both the owner and the manager of the St. Joseph club. This apparently wasn’t the first or last time he attacked an umpire; he even suckerpunched the league president at a postseason banquet.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 22, 2015 at 08:26 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, riots

Friday, June 19, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-19-2015

Albuquerque Morning Journal, June 19, 1915:

INSANE PROVE TO BE ENTHUSIASTIC ROOTERS AT BASEBALL GAME

Three hundred inmates of the state asylum for the insane [in San Bernardino, CA] rooted like real fans at a baseball game played [yesterday] between teams made up from inmates and attendants of the institution.

Dr. J.A. Riley, superintendent of the hospital, who believes interest created by baseball may restore mental balance in many of the patients, announced after the game that work would be started at once on a grand stand and a series of games would be played.

Cool.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 19, 2015 at 08:10 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-18-2015

My favorite ballplayer of the 1910s is back in the news! Pittsburgh Press, June 18, 1915:

When “Tubby” Spencer left Philadelphia, it was thought that he was through as a catcher. Spencer was at one time considered the most promising catcher in the country. He was the son of a Scranton millionaire, and traveled the pace that ruins all athletes.
...
Spencer was a brilliant chap, and he saw the error of his ways and gave up the bright lights. The big, good natured catcher is now treasurer of the Venice club and holds such a responsible position with [team President Eddie Moyer]...that Moyer is going to deprive the club of the services of a catcher and treasurer to make him manager of his great business.

Tubby was back in the majors in 1916, so it’s safe to say his career as a businessman didn’t take off right away.

Anyway, some of Tubby’s greatest hits: Dove through a plate glass window into a restaurant because he was hungry and saw a sandwich, lived as a hobo, was banned from the city of Louisville, was given $50,000 by his father to retire from baseball, then used a big chunk of the money to gamble and decided not to retire, got ejected from a game before it even started, and spent time in jail in Indianapolis for drunkenness. There was never a dull moment when Tubby was around.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 18, 2015 at 09:58 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, tubby spencer

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-17-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 17, 1915:

While the Brooklyn outfield is showing signs of a revival in hitting, Uncle Wilbert Robinson still thinks it would be well to have another outer gardener. With that end in view he is negotiating for a young fellow in the Texas league…Robbie will not give the kid’s name, but says he is the proper sort of person, being full of pep and action. The best evidence of his forceful character was furnished year before last when he offered to whip the Giants individually or collectively in a row over an exhibition game.

Emphasis mine. That’s a pretty confident kid, threatening to beat up an entire roster that included Jim Thorpe, Larry McLean (6’5”, 228, and certifiably crazy), and Jeff Tesreau (6’2”, 218).

Anyway, I’m pretty sure Nixon’s The One. Al “Humpty Dumpty” Nixon was an outfielder and spent most of 1915 in the Texas League before a cup of coffee with Brooklyn in September. He was in the majors off and on through 1928 but spent 1924-1925 on the ineligible list. I have no idea what he did to upset Judge Landis, but it cost him two years. The strange thing was that Nixon returned in 1926 at age 40 and then had the two best seasons of his career.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 17, 2015 at 08:41 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: al nixon, dugout, history

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-16-2015

Milwaukee Sentinel, Page 5 of linked newspaper, June 16, 1915:

[Jack] Nabors, a local pitcher in the Georgia-Alabama league, established what is regarded as a new record in organizaed baseball [in Newman, Georgia] Tuesday by pitching against the Tallageda [sic] club for thirteen innings without giving a hit or base on balls. Only forty men faced Nabors, who won his game, 1 to 0.

Well, golllllllleee. That was a heck of a performance.

You’d think a pitcher like that would go on to a successful career, but he didn’t. Nabors put up a career MLB record of 1-25 (!) including a memorable 1-20 season with the 1916 Athletics. Nabors wasn’t very good, but he wasn’t an absolutely horrendous pitcher; he put up an ERA+ of 82 and 0.6 WAR in 1916. He just had the misfortune of being a not-good pitcher on a historically terrible team.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 16, 2015 at 08:48 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jack nabors

September 9, 1965: ‘A million butterflies’ and one perfect game for Sandy Koufax | SABR

Includes a link to Vin Scully’s call of the last three outs.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 16, 2015 at 08:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, history, no hitters, sandy koufax

Monday, June 15, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-15-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 15, 1915:

Keliher, first baseman of the Worcester team, had the distinction of playing through yesterday’s New England league game with Fitchburg without a putout, assist or error.

As of May 2007, 24 MLB first basemen had played an entire game without a fielding chance. That makes it just slightly more common than a perfect game, which has occurred 23 times in MLB history.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 15, 2015 at 08:24 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, June 12, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-12-2015

Milwaukee Journal, June 12, 1915:

Long Larry McLean, second string catcher for the New York Giants, staged a knockdown and dragout fight Thursday night in the lobby of the Buckingham hotel, one of the most exclusive in St. Louis, with “Sinister Dick” Kinsella, scout, of the club, as his chief opponent, and Manager John J. McGraw as a sort of secondary enemy.

During the fracas McLean used a piece of gas pipe in his attempt to “get” Kinsella, but missed, and the Giant scout retaliated by breaking two of the hotel chairs on Larry’s head. McLean, when he saw that he was getting the worst of it, ran from the hotel with Kinsella, McGraw and a couple of house detectives in pursuit, jumped into an automobile loaded with women and made his escape.

Unsurprisingly, this was the final act in McLean’s long and mostly drunken career as a pro ballplayer. Things didn’t get much better for Larry after he retired. In 1921, he was shot and killed when he (allegedly) drunkenly attacked a bartender for refusing to give him some cigarettes.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-11-2015

Milwaukee Journal, June 11, 1915:

[After the squeeze play] had been worked on [Portland pitcher Rube] Evans twice in one inning, [manager Walt] McCredie said:

“The next time they try that play, bean him (meaning, of course, the batsman), that will stop them.”
...
Imagine the surprise and excitement in the ground [the next time the opponents tried the squeeze play] when Evans whirled about and threw straight as an arrow at the base-runner. His aim was good and the ball struck the runner just back of the ear and stretched him out cold. A riot almost followed and Evans was lucky to escape being mobbed.

On the way back to the hotel, McCredie said: “What was you thinking of, you big lunkhead?”

“You told me to bean him, didn’t you? Why didn’t you say the batter? I thought you meant the base-runner.”

Cue the sad trombone.

Beaning a moving baserunner would be quite a bit harder than beaning a stationary batter, but if you can pull it off, at least you don’t wind up with a man on first base.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 11, 2015 at 09:53 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-10-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 10, 1915:

In the event of the Federal league giving up the ghost or some sort of a compromise being made between organized baseball and the new circuit, there is danger of Baltimore being entirely eliminated from the game.

That city’s history in baseball is such that even the weakest minor league would hesitate about putting a club in there when the field is cleared. No club in the history of the town has ever been supported in Baltimore.
...
When the present situation is cleared, which perhaps will be before the next season opens, Baltimore is pretty sure not to have baseball at all, for there are any number of cities better qualified to support either a major or a minor league than is Baltimore.

Regardless of your opinion of baseball’s future viability in Montreal, the content of this article sounds extremely familiar.

Anyway, as it turns out, Baltimore didn’t lose baseball. The International League returned in 1916 and the new Orioles won the pennant seven years in a row from 1919-1925. If you’re keeping score at home, Baltimore has had professional baseball in 132 of the last 133 seasons, absent only in 1900.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 10, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-9-2015

Harrisburg Telegraph, June 9, 1915:

Christy Mathewson will be out of baseball for several weeks, it was said yesterday, after the pitching star of the New York Nationals had undergone a rigid examination by a nerve specialist.

Suffering from a nervous disorder of the left shoulder, Mathewson has been unable to take his regular turn in pitching for some time…He had been unable to sleep more than three hours a night, he said, because of the pain. The disorder extended to the right shoulder yesterday.

The good news is that Matty was able to make seven starts over the next month or so, putting up an ERA of 2.40 in 60 innings. The bad news is that after mid-July 1915, he was never again a consistently good big league pitcher.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 09, 2015 at 08:27 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: christy mathewson, dugout, history

Monday, June 08, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-8-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 8, 1915:

Marty Kavanaugh [sic] has a way all his own of catching thrown balls. He brings his hands together like a pair of cymbals, but as the ball stays within the peculiarity of his technic is of trifling consequence.

If I’ve learned anything at all from Eric B. and Rakim, it’s that you shouldn’t sweat the technique.

Kavanagh played first base in 1915, but most of the rest of his career at second. I hope he didn’t do the cymbal thing while he was trying to pivot on a double play.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 08, 2015 at 08:01 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, marty kavanagh

Friday, June 05, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-5-2015

El Paso Herald, June 5, 2015:

Should the Boston Braves fail in their efforts to tear off another National league championship, William N. Jarvis, a local baseball enthusiast, has agreed to walk from [Cambridge, Massachusetts] to Philadelphia and return, having as his guardian a big mud turtle, Lucy Lee.

Jarvis and a friend, Fred Woodland, made the bet, the latter standing to lose $100 if the Braves land the bunting, while Jarvis will be compelled to walk the entire distance.

Lucy Lee is to ramble two in every five miles, being carried by her master during the other three miles.

I hope he had comfortable shoes.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 05, 2015 at 07:55 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: betting on baseball, dugout, history

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Caught in the Draft | Baseball Hall of Fame

Some Hall of Fame draft history.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2015 at 10:27 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, hall of fame, history

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